People hire personal trainers for a myriad of reasons. The most popular reason is that they are ready to start a fitness program and are looking for guidance. Others hire a personal trainer to reach a specific goal, such as completing a half-marathon, or competing in a weightlifting meet.
Personally, I started working with a trainer in a group setting because I was ready to up the level of intensity of my workouts, but didn’t know where to start. I’ve kept working with him because he continues to push me past my comfort zone, and I continue to see results.
Hiring a personal trainer can be daunting, especially if you’re new to fitness. Bigger gyms may have you fill out a questionnaire and match you with a staff trainer based on your answers. Maybe you get a recommendation from a friend, or turn to Google. Investing in a personal trainer is no small commitment. You are paying someone to push you out of your comfort zone. This person is going to know a lot about you – height, weight, relevant medical history, goals – so you want to make sure you’re hiring the right trainer for your.
Here are a few things to consider when hiring a personal trainer.
Are they certified?
In the age of the internet, it seems like everyone is an Instagram fitness pro. Not so fast. Many of them are not certified by an accredited organization such as ACE or NASM. While there ARE good personal trainers out there who aren’t certified, but have years of experience, there are far more who might go to the gym a few times a week for a while and decide they know what they’re doing.
When hiring a personal trainer, check their qualifications above all else. This is for your safety, but also their own. If they aren’t certified, ask them questions about their experience. A good trainer will welcome those questions.
(Both my personal training certification and my nutrition certification are through ACE).
What do they specialize in?
Most personal trainers specialize in a certain area of fitness. They may enjoy working with the elderly who face things like balance challenges and unstable joint , or teenage athletes looking to improve performance. Personally, I love working with women just beginning their fitness journeys, as well as women interested in strength training. While a trainer who likes working with the elderly will be completely capable of training you, it may not be the best fit if you’re a 30-year-old woman with the goal of gaining strength, but they specialize in the aging population.
Online or in person?
The internet makes it possible for you to work with a personal trainer located anywhere in the world. I like offering virtual personal training (more on that soon, but email me if you’re interested in learning more!) as it allows me to connect with a wider audience, and on my own schedule. However, I also love being one-on-one with someone in the gym. If you feel confident in your ability to stick to a program or face time limitations, virtual personal training could be a viable solution. If you prefer hands on work, feel a little intimidated by the gym, or need the accountability, working in person with a trainer might be a better fit.
One-on-One or Group?
A lot of personal trainers offer both one-on-one and group training options. Group sessions are generally cheaper, but you do lose some of the hands on time afforded to you by one-on-one sessions. If you’re considering group training, but haven’t worked with a trainer before, my personal recommendation is to start with a few one-on-one sessions, and then move into a group setting. The one-on-one sessions will allow your trainer to assess your needs and fitness level, and help match you with a suitable group.
Time and Cost
Personal training is a commitment of both time and money. Look at your schedule and compare it with your potential trainer’s availability. If your schedule makes it tricky to get to a session, perhaps consider another trainer – we’re more prone to missing workouts if we feel rushed or like getting there is a hassle. There’s a whole science behind this, which I’ll write about soon!
Additionally, assess the cost associated with the training sessions. If you’re going to pay for it, make sure it’s within your budget, and something you can show up to. It’s one thing to set Netflix to auto renew each month and forget all about it, but it’s quite another to pay a costly personal training fee and not show up.
Do you mesh?
A few years ago, I hired my first personal trainer. We had six sessions together, thanks to a deal with the gym I used to belong to. I knew by session two that I was likely not to hire him past the sessions I had paid for. He was friendly and knowledgeable, but I felt like he wasn’t interested in me as a client. He’s still training there, and seems to be successful, but he just wasn’t the right fit for me.
Again, if you’re going to be putting in time, money, and effort, hire someone you trust. Make sure they get you – they know your hopes, they know your goals, they know your relevant medical history. You should have a good rapport with your personal trainer, above all else and feel like they value your time and share your goals.
What questions do you have about hiring a personal trainer? Leave them for me in the comments, or shoot me an email!